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A Cautionary Tale

source:Teach Abroad time:2019-12-30 10:47:56 read:3221

China Phone Etiquette Graphic

At the risk of being party-poopers, this week we want to remind all our teachers about their personal safety. The festive season is in full swing which means lots of social engagements and the raising of glasses full of seasonal cheer. We understand many ESL teachers have a predisposition to risk-taking, after all, not many people get on a plane to travel the world and explore new environments. Nevertheless, we do expect our teachers to retain sound professional judgement, and this includes when intoxicated. Your personal safety is, for the most part, your own responsibility. It’s only you who can think twice about undertaking questionable behaviour.


It’s a tale which has been told many times before, but year after year some teachers forget laws and social compliance in China can be very different from their home country’s. It goes without saying that the consumption of all illegal drugs, including marijuana, is strictly prohibited. Failure to comply with this will not only lead to the termination of your employment but, very likely, detention by Chinese Law Enforcement. Alcohol laws in China are very liberal. It’s ok to consume alcohol in public and drinking ages are lower than in many other countries. Some foreigners get carried away with this new-found accessibility and ease of consumption. It’s not uncommon to find beer in vending machines and convenience stores 24 hours a day here in Hangzhou. Unfortunately we all know our judgement becomes cloudy after a few drinks, so let us reiterate some basic guidance for those of you who enjoy a tipple:


Don’t get into altercations, physical or verbal. This doesn’t just mean fighting between foreigners. Antagonising, threading or assaulting locals is an absolute taboo. Police and judicial services will nearly always find in favour of the local patron. You will be not only be held legally accountable for inflicting harm but also financially culpable for compensation claims and hospital fees. Foreigners who are found fighting one another will both likely face punishment irrespective of proclamations of innocence. This will lead to a likely revocation of your Residence Permit and even deportation. Please just talk away, confrontation will lead to further complications. It is standard advice but please try to stay calm and remove yourself from any volatile situation. It’s reasonable for you to record any occurrence or evidence on your phone. If you feel in danger, please contact the police.


Riding e-bikes or any bicycle when inebriated is a big no-no. It may seem like a good idea at the time but the risk is high and the consequences severe. Any insurance coverage may also be invalidated, leaving you with potentially astronomical medical fees. Please just take a taxi home and collect your bike the next day. It really isn’t worth the risk. There are dozens of foreigners who have been killed or suffered life-changing injuries as a result of not heeding this advice.


When in your apartment be cautious of using naked flames. Candles, although beautiful, can be deadly. Fires can spread quickly in compact high-density buildings. Thoughtless actions with cigarettes, candles or cooking when drunk can not only be fatal for you but also to others surrounding you. Be careful.


Finally, frequenting dubious establishments of ill-repute is illegal in China despite their seemingly rampant presence in some areas. Certain massage parlours may well be brothels but these can be dangerous areas. As a foreigner you leave yourself exposed to potential blackmail and extortion without any legal recourse. As a professional teacher, these kind of dwellings should not be considered suitable in any shape or form.


So, hopefully we haven’t humbugged your festive jollies too much! We’d like to remind you to attend class after New Year promptly and professionally. If you feel you have deeper troubles or concerns you can always reach out to us here and we can try to talk it through. Please also note the relevant numbers which may be needed in case of an emergency:


Police: 110

Fire: 119

Telephone Numbers: 114

Weather: 121

Municipal First-Aid Center: 120

PSB Office: 87076677

Local Tourist Administration & Complaints Hotline

Tourist Consultancy Service: 87012003

Hangzhou Tourist Administration Bureau: 85152645

Tourist Complaints Hotline: 85171292


Zhejiang Hospital: 87987373

Hangzhou City Central Hospital: 85157591

Hangzhou City No. 1 People's Hospital: 87065701

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